Jack’s Antique is home to a hand-selected and long-lasting collection of antiques that hold value and stories of its own. The shop has been in business for over three years and is located in the Flagstaff Mall. It is owned by Flagstaff resident Jack Delaporte and his wife, Vivian.
The Delaporte’s first met 22 years ago in Hong Kong while Jack was doing a decorative painting for a client, and the two have been together ever since. The pair have a shared love for art and fine furnishings, and Jack began his collection when he was 8-years- old.
“My mother’s aunts had big Victorian homes that the kids weren’t allowed to go in,” Jack said. “That probably helped to provide some stimulus to being a collector, and of course, my mother had good taste. We didn’t have any money, but she always had a sense of style and decoration, and she was a good influence, as was my father, even though we hardly had two cents to put together.”
Jack is originally from New Jersey and was raised on a chicken farm. He grew up watching “The Lone Ranger” and was inspired to pack up in his early 20s and go on a road trip to national parks in the western United States for eight months. He has been in Flagstaff since 1989.
The trip throughout the U.S. part of Jack’s traveling endeavors. He has passions for art and music, but above all, traveling has been his most inspirational interest, and it is how he met his wife.
Vivian is the other half of the team that contribute to Jack’s Antique. She runs the store’s online presence as the marketer for the shop. Vivian is also a registered nurse in Flagstaff.
“[Jack’s Antique] is something different than my nursing world, and in some respects, it’s the same,” Vivian said. “I manage the inventory and the online website. It’s kind of like data entry for a patient or for product. You need to have accuracy in your descriptions, describing what’s happening to a patient versus what a product is.”
The couple said they work together to create a lovely selection that appeals to a wide variety of people. The shop is organized into Americana, African, Tribal, Native American and several other themes.
Jack’s Antique offers a large variety of items, including paintings, vintage cameras, jewelry, sculptures and musical instruments. Each item has its own history and description that the Delaportes take into account when adding to their growing collection.
With so much variety and seemingly not enough ground space for all the shop’s treasures, Vivian describes the items in detail to appeal to online collectors.
“I tend not to use a lot of flowery words,” Vivian said. “For me, I’d rather describe an item as what it is, because with serious collectors, that’s what they look for: the meat and bones. Is that piece of bronze a reproduction? Does it have a family stamp? Is it hollow? How old is it? Is it signed? That’s all very important information.”
Walking through the shop, it may be easy to overlook the layout and, moreover, what the shop once was. Jack’s Antique was formerly a clothing store. The walls are paneled with what used to be clothing hangers, and now the artwork is hung in those same spaces with customized hooks. In addition to the inventive reuse of clothing hangers, the African room has been crafted out of a pair of former dressing rooms.
The originality of the shop’s space only adds to the uniqueness of the actual collection. The collection of items in Jack’s Antique is hand-selected by the Delaportes. Vivian said the couple typically buys items from individuals who bring in antiques. They make decisions based on space, value and retail price. Jack said each item is unique and holds value, both in terms of price and character.
“Since I’ve been open and because I put the nicest things I can in my store, people bring their nicest things to me, rather than donate them to a thrift store,” Jack said. “They bring their nice things to me, because they want their good stuff to be with my good stuff. You’d prefer something that has been cherished by your family to be here and given proper respect, and you can be confident someone will love it as much as you did — almost as much as you did.”
Jack said the store holds items from six different continents, and some items hold their own stories, such as a pair of African fertility figures.
“I had a Navajo shaman come in my store, and I had [African fertility figures] in the small African room because I thought they would want to be in a nice, quiet spot where they wouldn’t be bothered,” Jack said. “He was walking through the store picking up on stuff, and he came and told me [the figurines] liked the store. They liked being here, they liked me but they want to be in the big room. So, they’re in the big room now.”
This is just one of the many interesting encounters Jack has experienced in his shop. Most items in the store have been previously owned, however, he does know artists that sell directly to him. Overall, Jack’s Antique is viewed by the couple as more of a foster care system than a shop.
“Jack’s Antique is an adoption agency — that’s what we do,” Jack said. “Things come here, they’ll be with me for a while then someone comes in and adopts them, and you have to say goodbye. Sometimes it’s sad. There are certain things I’ve sold that I wasn’t really sure I was ready to let go.”
Letting go may be difficult at times for the Delaportes. However, Jack’s Antique has been at the start of many people’s growing collections.
Junior Jackson Lanes, a local collector, picked up his first art piece at Jack’s Antique and has since expanded his collection.
“Jack’s Antique will work with you on price if you really love something,” Lanes said. “That’s really cool, because otherwise, I couldn’t have afforded to start or even grow a collection. He is understanding and super knowledgeable.”
Lanes said Jack’s Antique, although relatively new, has made its mark on the Flagstaff community by integrating history and art into a tangible combination for people to enjoy.